Combination of general and specific warm-ups improves leg-press one repetition maximum compared with specific warm-up in trained individuals

Cesar C C Abad, Marcos L Prado, Carlos Ugrinowitsch, Valmor Tricoli, Renato Barroso
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2011, 25 (8): 2242-5
Accurate assessment of muscular strength is critical for exercise prescription and functional evaluation. The warm-up protocol may affect the precision of the 1 repetition maximum (1RM) test. Testing guidelines recommend performing both general and specific warm-ups before strength tests. The general warm-up intends to raise muscle temperature, whereas the specific warm-up aims to increase neuromuscular activation. Although there is scientific evidence for performing the specific warm-up, the effects of general warm-up on strength tests are still unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the combination of a general with a specific warm-up (G + SWU) protocol would improve leg press 1RM values compared with a specific warm-up (SWU) protocol. Thirteen participants were tested for leg-press 1RM under 2 warm-up conditions. In the first condition, participants performed the SWU only, which was composed of 1 set of 8 repetitions at approximately 50% of the estimated 1RM followed by another set of 3 repetitions at 70% of the estimated 1RM. In the second condition (G + SWU), participants performed the 1RM test after a 20-minute general warm-up on a stationary bicycle at 60% of HRmax and the same specific warm-up as in the SWU. Values of 1RM in SWU and in G + SWU were compared by a paired t-test, and significance level was set at p ≤ 0.05. Strength values were on average 8.4% (p = 0.002) higher in the G + SWU compared with the SWU. These results suggest that the G + SWU induced temperature-dependent neuromuscular adjustments that increased muscle force production capacity. Therefore, these results support the recommendations of the testing guidelines to perform a moderate intensity general warm-up in addition to the specific warm-up before maximum strength assessments.

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